Thursday, September 10, 2009

Struggle to Honor Harvey Milk

The LATimes is reporting on a controversy within California politics to honor slain gay rights activist Harvey Milks birthday.
Waves of phone calls, e-mails and faxes have been arriving in the Capitol for weeks from gay rights advocates and conservative Christians. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's office created a special phone line to handle the volume.

"There are days of special significance for John Muir, for the California poppy," said the proposal's author, Sen. Mark Leno (D-San Francisco). "Why would we not have such a day for this unique California hero?"

Conservatives are pushing hard for Schwarzenegger to veto Leno's legislation, which would proclaim Milk's May 22 birthday a day of recognition and encourage schools to consider commemorating his life.

Opponents say that singling out Milk would send the wrong message to children by endorsing homosexuality and lionizing a man with a controversial personal history. Some raise the specter of schools holding mock gay weddings and gay pride parades on campus.
Though Harvey Milk is admittedly a controversial character, it seems like a majority of the opposition is from people who are afraid that knowing gay people actually exist will be a huge moral detriment to their kids. Some parts of the story seem familiar though:
Kimberly Kennedy-Woods, an Elk Grove mother of two young sons and one of several parents who joined Thomasson on Thursday, vowed to pull her sons from public school if a Harvey Milk Day becomes a reality.

"I do not send my children to school to be sexually indoctrinated," she said.

Nearby, Alice Kessler of Equality California, a gay rights organization that fought Proposition 8, watched silently.
The movie Milk, if you've never seen it, is about progressive gay rights activists fighting a flagrantly homophobic state proposition that has overwhelming support from church-backed forces - what a different and quaint time the past must have been!

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